These include work related stress, poor leadership in the policing departments and police culture. Occupational stress is the main cause of high rate of alcohol abuse in the police (Amaranto, et al 2003). According to Walker et al (1993), occupational stress is a condition that arises from negative perception of a particular phenomenon in the environment, and is aggravated by poor coping mechanisms resulting to adverse psychological and physical impacts on a person. Walker et al (1993) argued that police occupation is high stress job and the pressure originates from diverse sources directly and indirectly associated with policing. The major causes of stress include poor relations between the police and the community, legal procedures such as numerous court appearances, understaffing and prolonged working hours in the job which deny the officers sufficient time for relaxation.
In addition, the profession is high risk, which exposes the officers to elevated incidents of physical harm. These adverse working conditions are often aggravated by poor or lack of support from the senior officers to their juniors (Amaranto, et al 2003).
Lindsay (2008) argues that the increased physical danger for the officers on duty is one of the most common causes of stress, a situation that is not helped by indifference and pressure to perform from the seniors. In policing, Walker et al (1993) indentified family-work conflict and organizational shortcomings in police structure as the major contributors of occupational stress. A study conducted by Lindsay (2008) established that most police organizations lack adequate leadership and support, which cause high level of stress amidst fast organizational transformation. In addition, the internal investigations within the organization and leniency from the civil legal bodies towards criminals were indentified as major causes of occupational stress among the police officers (Lindsay, 2008).
For effective law enforcement in society, it is important for the police officers to feel valued for their contribution and receive constant and timely support from the seniors. However, Amaranto et al (2003) established that police officers generally lack acknowledgement and reinforcement from the larger policing structure, causing resentment and resentment in the work place. The poor working conditions demoralize the officers and alcoholism becomes the most appropriate mechanism of coping with their frustrations. In another research study examining the factors that contributes to high levels of alcoholism in the police, Walker, et al (1993) established heavy work load, difficulties in carrying out particular duties and lack of independence in undertaking investigations and other law enforcement duties contributed significantly to high incidences of alcoholism in the police force.
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